Ever felt like you've been bamboozled by a car salesman? I'm sure most of us who've been driving for a while have.

I think in this area age and experience can help a great deal. It's like the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

I can tell you I've fallen for some of their tricks before. However, I have to point out that this was quite some time ago and certainly may not reflect the selling culture nowadays.

In fact, the pandemic and the economy might've put a stop to those old days of trickery. I'm not saying all salespeople were like that, but some were.

But even before the pandemic I actually had a pleasant experience. Maybe I just shopped at one of the better dealerships and got lucky?


Whatever it was, I ended up getting exactly what I wanted without the salesperson playing any games. In fact, I actually got a great price on the car which I still have today, which goes to show that not all car salespeople are like that.

That purchase was back in 2019 before the world caved in on itself with COVID. I'll be shopping for a new car again in the near future so I'm hoping the experience will be just as pleasant as the last.

However, it wasn't always that way. In fact, looking back at it I now know for a fact that I got sucked into some car salesman tricks and had no idea at the time.

One example was when I went to buy a midsized pickup truck. I was in my early 20s at the time and didn't have that full understanding of how credit affects your purchasing power yet.


I traded in my much older vehicle for a newer model. The price of the vehicle wasn't bad, but I really should not have purchased it.

The first tactic they used involved not getting approval with my credit. They just let me drive off with the new truck.

Finally, weeks later they called me in to say they got it approved. They played it off that having something like a 29% interest rate on a two-year loan wasn't bad.

Shocked / Surprised

My older self could tell that was a terrible deal, but my younger self was clueless, so I signed the paperwork anyway. I think they also knew letting me have the truck for weeks would allow me to grow attached to the vehicle.

Long story short, they got me. If only I had the wits my brother did with his new purchase.

Now to be clear, I don't suggest this as a direction anyone should go. We were both much younger when this happened and didn't know nearly as much as we do now.

With that said, my brother's deal also wasn't the best, initially. But when it came to the trade-in, my brother found a loophole that made the deal much worse for the dealer.

Used car

So my brother has always driven a stick shift. It's something he enjoys doing even to this day.

That fact is important when it comes to what he did here, especially since the vehicle he was trading was also a manual.

Basically, the clutch in the vehicle he was trading in was in such bad shape that you could barely drive it without the engine revving near the red zone. It was that burnt.

The engine and transmission on the other hand were in great shape. In fact, if it wasn't for that burnt-out clutch the entire vehicle would've been fine.

Car pedals with clutch

So after the deal was closed all that was needed was the trade-in. But because of the way it was driving we decided not didn't not to bring it unless a deal was made.

My brother looked over the paperwork that stated everything you must disclose that was wrong with the vehicle. As it turned out, there was nothing there regarding the clutch itself.

The engine and transmission were fine, as was the rest of the vehicle, so he only disclosed the information that was requested. But before I go any further, there's a reason he stuck to just what they wanted.

The salespeople that were working with him were trying to push all sorts of nonsense on him. On top of that, they were aggressive and pushy and refused to take no for an answer.

New cars at dealer showroom. Themed blur background with bokeh effect. Car auto dealership.

My brother attempted to leave a few times because it wasn't that good of a deal. And every time he did, they literally would stop him from leaving.

At the same time, my brother knew that the old vehicle had to go. That's why he ultimately took the deal that was being pressured onto him.

But it's also why he carefully looked at that trade-in paperwork. If the salespeople weren't so aggressive and pushy, he might've told them about the clutch.

And when he saw that info wasn't required, he turned the tables to get a much better deal on the trade-in value. And since the dealership was closing soon (it was late in the evening), they told him just get the car there overnight and they'll close the deal right then and there.


The trade value was certainly higher than it should've been, and I helped him get the old vehicle there with the burnt-to-hell clutch. I'm telling you, that was one slow drive.

We dropped it off after everyone went home and didn't need to go back until the new plates came in. When they did, the primary salesperson who helped my brother walked over to him with a look of frustration on his face.

He simply asked, "How did you get that car here? We couldn't move it." He then went on to say the damage to the clutch was so bad that the cost to repair exceeded the trade-in value.

In other words, the dealer actually lost money on the deal. And when my brother pointed out there was nothing about mentioning the clutch on the paperwork, the salesman knew he was right.

6 speed manual transmission cost

Quite clearly, the tables were turned on them. However, my brother did that only because of how aggressive and pushy the salespeople were toward him, which he didn't appreciate.

Now, there is a lesson here for pushy car salespeople. Don't try to push and trick your customers into a sale, because you never know when it'll come back to haunt you.

With that said, this isn't directed toward all car dealers as many of you are also fantastic. As mentioned earlier, one of my most recent purchases was met with a great experience, and I'm hopeful my next purchase will be the same.

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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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